At the ADI Design Museum an exhibition dedicated to the historic 1930s magazine Campo Grafica

It was 1932, and in a trattoria from Milan in via della Asole, a few steps from the Duomo, usually a group of workers from the graphic industry met. There were a few graphic designers, just as many printers, a gallery owner, an advertiser, an administrator, and many workers. Between wine, ossi holes and chops, we talked at the tables about the craft: technical but also theoretical aspects, in a period when Italian graphics had just begun, and from Germany came the example of the Bauhaus, which would soon be closed by Nazis.
The group was brought together by Carlo Dradi and Attilio Rossi – the two graphic designers who both came from Milan Book School – and from these informal meetings a common need arose loud and clear: to modernize the sector in which everyone worked. , rooted in concepts, techniques and practices that had now had their time.
To put forces together, and to be able to take advantage of the founders’ voluntary work and support from friendly supporters from the art and architecture world as well as free access, on non-working days, to rooms and machines of some printing companies “born” the meetings in the restaurant the year after a magazine : it was called Graphic field and those who were a part of it proclaimed themselves “campista.”

“To the willing graphic designers who will support our work with their collaboration, we send our best regards, in the assurance that the useful understanding and the joint efforts will be fruitful of excellent results,” declared the last lines of the editorial board, which introduced the first number. , published in January 1933. And the support was not lacking right from the start. The magazine was sold by subscription and appeared in 500 copies and immediately attracted other professionals, including some of the founders of modern Italian graphics: Bruno Munari, Guido Modiano, Antonio Boggeri, Luigi Veronesi, Enrico Bona, Ezio D’Errico.

On the sides of Graphic field – which came out every month, changing graphics every time – the story of Italian graphic design was made, we discussed, we experimented. «Central objective for Graphic field»Wrote the teacher, researcher and historian in design and visual communication Carlo Vinti a few years ago Notebook of Typographic Culture 01.TIF Field Chart“Should fight against a vision of style as art with a capital A: the mottos in Latin and symbols such as” the press surrounded by laurels, the eagle holding the composer in the claws or other tools “had to be set aside to recreate style a practical and technical dimension Adapting to the modernization that is taking place in industry and the arts was felt as a “moral imperative” ».
Between ups and downs, the publishing adventure of Graphic fieldlived in a turbulent period like the one in the fascist period (which lacked no more or less bitter clashes with the regime) continued until 1939. The last issue, under the banner of futurism, came out in the spring of the terrible year that later saw the start of World War II. and ideally ended one of the most creative seasons of graphics and style in our country.

Today, the complete collections of all 66 published issues are very rare to find, but fortunately the legacy of the project has been preserved byGraphic Field Association.
Founded in 2013 – 80 years after the first release – then Gaetano Grizzantidesigner and branding expert, along with the journalist and writer Mauro Chiabrando and to the children of the magazine’s founders, Massimo Dradi And Pablo Rossithe association has also put the magazine’s issues online, which can be so easily explored from a browser.
However, there will be an opportunity to see them live, exhibited for the first time all together, in the exhibition Field graphics 1933/1939organized by the Graphic Field Association atADI Design Museum in Milan on the occasion of the first edition of Milan Graphic Festivalan event dedicated to graphics spread across the city, scheduled for March 25-27 next time.
The exhibition opens tomorrow evening (March 24) at 5.15pm and closes on April 10th. It will be accompanied by one catalogedited by Gaetano Grizzanti, published by Aiap editions and printed – like the magazine – in 500 copies, all numbered.

(courtesy: Campo Grafica Association)


Field graphics 1933/1939. Visual design is born

curated by Gaetano Grizzanti

The catalog – in addition to the narrative of the prominent features of Campo Grafica’s history accompanied by over 100 images – includes an illustrated poster with all 66 covers and a transcript and English translation of 12 original articles from the magazine.
The release was designed by Gaetano Grizzanti and Giancarlo Tosoni and is explicitly conceived with an inspired “campista” graphic that expresses all facets of a multifaceted phenomenon.

Leave a Comment